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Europa League | Dons progress despite defeat : Live

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Europa League | Dons progress despite defeat

July 8, 2016 1:03 am Author: Aberdeen FC

The Dons have progressed in the Europa League despite losing 1-0 in Luxembourg earlier this evening. Tonight’s result means that Aberdeen win the tie 3-2. Aberdeen will face either FK Ventspils of Latvia or Vikingur of the Faroe Islands in the next round.

Derek McInnes made two changes to the side which defeated Fola 3-1 in the first leg. Niall McGinn was given a well-deserved rest and replaced by Peter Pawlett. Meanwhile Willo Flood dropped to the bench and Anthony O’Connor made his first start as an Aberdeen player.

Thomas Hym lined up in goal for Fola despite the tragic death of his father a couple of days before. Both sides wore black armbands as a mark of respect and both sets of fans gave him a great support throughout.

About 400 members of the Red Army were in attendance as the game kicked off in heat of 28 degrees which was unusually warm for even this part of Europe.  The heat had hardened the pitch and with little watering the surface was very firm.

In the second minute a long shot from just inside their own half had Lewis scrambling back towards his line but thankfully the ball just went the wrong side of the bar. Had it been on target there is no certainty the keeper would have been able to make a save.

Then a decent cross left from Muharemovic was chested behind by Shinnie. Aberdeen defended the corner well but they did not look so clever at the back when in the fourth minute a simple long ball over the top left Hadji in acres of space and a free run in on goal. His shot tested Lewis as it was on target but the English keeper had his angles spot on.

This was not the start Aberdeen had wanted. The home side were well up for this and very committed with their tackles.  In the 12th minute a dangerous cross from Klapp on the right thankfully landed at the feet of Considine.
In the 14th minute slack play at the back by Fola allowed Logan to get a shot but his effort was just off target.

The Dons defence were then tested again when another ball into the box had to be headed behind for a corner.
With 20 minutes gone the Dons were struggling to cope with the fiery pitch and not getting any pattern to the play.

In the 21st minute McLean pulled a shot wide and then Pawlett finally found space down the left. He beat his man and put over a low cross which was met by Stockley at the near post but Hym made a good save with his chest.  In the 23rd minute Aberdeen won their first corner which was whipped in by Hayes and only just missed by Considine and Taylor. A bit better from Aberdeen.

In the 27th minute Muharemovic fired a shot just over despite the close attentions of O’Connor. The Irishman then did well on the half hour mark to clear the danger after another dangerous cross from the left. Aberdeen then appealed for a penalty when Logan went down inside the area after a trip but the Norwegian referee played on.

A minute later Fola won another corner after good play down their right. Hadji headed it just wide. Aberdeen then won a corner which Hym confidently punched clear. A long ball once again caused Aberdeen problems. They did not deal with the bouncing ball and Laterza blasted a shot inches over although Lewis appeared to have it covered. 

On 37 minutes a half chance for Pawlett but he dragged his shot well wide. In the 43rd minute Aberdeen were fortunate to get away with Considine losing the ball on the half way line. Thankfully the cross from the right was over hit.

The home side had come up with a good game plan in the first half and they got their just rewards a minute before half time. Again a simple through ball gave Hadji a race with Taylor. The Fola player held off the Dons defender before firing a powerful shot past Lewis.

HT

At half time the pitch was finally watered but only in the end Fola were shooting towards. Aberdeen made a double change with Flood and Reynolds coming on for Pawlett and O’Connor.

The early stages of the second half were going to be crucial as the Dons tried to get some control of proceedings.

The Dons were starting to look really nervous at the back. On 50 minutes again a bouncing ball was not dealt with and Lewis was forced to make a superb diving stop to keep out Bensi’s curling effort. From the resulting corner again the Dons defence failed to clear their lines and again Lewis was forced into a save.

The home were still on top but at least Flood and Shinnie in the middle of the park were starting to have an influence. On 61 minutes Willo was harshly booked and then a minute later Rooney replaced Stockley.   
The tie was now on a knife edge and both sets of players seemed intent on not making a mistake instead of being inventive.

In the 66th minute really good defending from Logan who won the ball ahead of Francoise inside the area after a knockdown. The right back read the situation well, had he not the Dons were in trouble. On 67 minutes Aberdeen had a rare opportunity to get bodies forward but Shinnie’s ball was too close to the keeper. 

On 68 minutes an injury led to a water break and a chance for the Dons to regroup. Aberdeen then had their best chance of the game when Hayes found some space and his low cross was very nearly met by Rooney but Klein produced a superb interception.

Rodrigues then replaced the injured Klapp. For the first time Fola’s passes were starting to go astray, a sign maybe of tiredness.

However on 75 minutes they very nearly scored. Poor play from the Dons again allowed Fracoise time for a shot and his effort beat Lewis but cannoned off the post. The ball fell for Rodrigues but he blasted over with Lewis out of position. Taylor then produced a good bit of defending when left one on one.

This was going to be a very nervous final ten minutes.

The lively Rodrigues then tried his luck from distance, Lewis was well positioned to save his shot. On 82 minutes Camerling, who had replaced Francoise, had a shot which bounced awkwardly in front of Lewis but again the keepers handling was good.

On 83 minutes Rooney was booked after going down inside the area after good play to hold the ball up in the final third. It did look like a penalty and the striker was certainly treated harshly.
 
On 86 minutes a dangerous free kick was played over but thankfully it went beyond everyone and Reynolds was able to usher the ball out of play. The impressive Muharemovic was then replaced by Lopez. In the 90th minute Rodrigues flick on looked to be heading in but Lewis calmly took a step to his left and clutch the ball. This was torture for the Aberdeen fans.

Three minutes of added time were added on and thankfully the Dons were able to see the game out.  

A very poor display but the Dons are through.
 
Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, Taylor, Hayes, O’Connor (Reynolds 45), Pawlett (Flood 45), Stockley (Rooney 62), Jack. Subs: Alexander, Reynolds, Flood, Rooney, Shankland, Smith, Wright

Fola Esch: Hym, Bernard, Muharemovic (Lopes Rocha 86), Dallevedove, Francoise (Camerling 78), Hadji, Laterza, Kirch, Klapp (Rodrigues 68), Bensi, Klein Subs: Marino, Sacras, Bechthold

Referee: Ola Hobber Nilsen (NOR)

Stadium: Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg (LUX)

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